My sleepy eyes opened as I heard the voice of our governor on the TV. I was 8 weeks pregnant and still suffering from the super sleepies. So this particular Saturday morning I slipped out of bed with my two boys, turned on the cartoons, gave the boys some cereal, and found my napping spot on the couch while they enoyed their beloved cartoons. But the boys' cartoons had been rudely interrupted by a special announcement.
We had only been back in New Orleans for three weeks, after spending the summer serving in my home church in Oklahoma. We were just one week into classes at seminary, and my man had just started the job he fought so hard to gain. He spent his days happily building houses for Habitat for Humanity, and we were blessed to be making more money than his previous job in retail.
We were gearing up to finish our time in seminary and move into a full-time minsitry. The blessing of a much anticipated new baby had been confirmed just a week earlier, and we were loving everything about life. Our heart, home, job, friends, and our future was in our beloved New Orleans. Life was exceedingly good. Little did I know, we were in for more of a surprise than just a new baby.
As I struggled to get myself going, I craned my neck around to listen to what the governor, who was standing next to the New Orleans Mayor, had to say.
"We will pull the trigger at 2PM and ask for a voluntary evacuation." Governor Blanco said. She went on to explain that the hurricane headed for New Orleans was not one to try to ride out.
A hurricane? I had no idea! Supernatural energy entered my body as I began to prepare for evacuation, but first I needed to call my man and get him to come home.
He knew about the hurricane. His coworker had already sent his wife and son home to Beaumont the night before. The men planned on working until noon and then heading home to evacuate.
Everything began to speed up. I had to get a shower, pack our bags, gather our photos and valuable items, fill up the van with gas, get cash out of the bank, fix lunch... and pray that it would all get done in the short time I had.
I called my good friends in Tyler, TX and asked if we could come stay with them. We were so grateful to have friends who would welcome us into their home.
I made sandwiches, ran my errands, and loaded my precious pictures into our trunk. However, I did not know where the box was that we used to store the antique painting of my grandfather, so I left my most precious item of all hanging on the wall until my man came home.
Just as he said, he walked through the door at noon. We were racing against the clock to try to beat the traffic out of town, and every minute meant we might spend hours just on New Orleans roadways alone.
New Orleans is surrounded by water. There is the ocean on one side, the Mississippi River on another, and then Lake Ponchartrain on another side. This makes evacuation difficult, since there are only 3 ways out of the city, and only two if you need to go west.
Jay quickly took a shower, loaded the van, and informed me that his coworker would be going with us. We were going to drop him off in Beaumont with his wife.
As I walked out of my little, wonderful apartment that I called home, I paused for a moment to say goodbye. Somehow I knew this day would change my life forever, but I had no idea what kind of heartaches and blessings lay in my future.